Abstract 744: Arrhythmogenesis in Heart Failure: Role of Interstitial Fibrosis
Background: Sudden cardiac death due to ventricular tachyarrhythmia (VT) accounts for a large number of deaths in patients with heart failure. Several cellular events which occur during pathological remodeling of the failing ventricle are implicated in the genesis of VT, including action potential prolongation, dysregulation of intercellular coupling, and fibrosis. Interestingly, transgenic mice over-expressing constitutively active PKD (caPKD) develop severe heart failure without interstitial fibrosis, an otherwise prominent feature of the disease. The goal here was to define the role of interstitial fibrosis in the proarrhythmic phenotype of failing myocardium.
Methods and Results: We performed echocardiographic, electrocardiographic, and in vivo electrophysiologic studies in 8 –10 week old caPKD mice (n=12). Similar studies were performed in mice with load-induced heart failure induced by surgical pressure overload (sTAB, n=10), a model of heart failure with prominent interstitial fibrosis. caPKD and sTAB mice showed similar degrees of ventricular dilation (LV systolic dimension caPKD 2.4±0.8 mm vs 3.0±0.9 sTAB, p=0.18) and severe systolic dysfunction (% fractional shortening caPKD 25±11 vs 28±11 sTAB, p=0.62). Yet, caPKD mice showed minimal interstitial fibrosis, comparable to unoperated controls. With the exception of ventricular refractory period, which was higher in caPKD (48±11 msec vs 36±7 TAB and 40±8 WT, p<0.05), other electrocardiographic and electrophysiologic variables were similar among the 3 groups (p=NS), including heart rate, QT duration, and mean VT threshold. As expected, VT (≥3beats) was readily inducible by programmed stimulation in sTAB mice (7/10). By contrast, VT was less inducible in caPKD mice (4/12; p=0.1 vs TAB and <0.05 vs WT), and uninducible in unoperated controls (0/12). VT was polymorphic in both models, but episodes of VT were both slower (VT cycle length caPKD 58±4.0 msec vs 48±1 sTAB, p=0.016) and longer in caPKD mice (caPKD 1.8±0.7 sec vs 0.47±0.3 sTAB, p=0.038).
Conclusion: Interstitial fibrosis contributes to the inducibility, maintenance, and rate of VT in heart failure. These findings highlight the importance of anti-remodeling therapies known to target fibrosis in heart disease.